Round numbers - what is the attraction?

23 April 2009
Watching the Channel 4 TV programme Around the World in 80 Trades recently I was struck that in all the negotiations the show featured, both participants were always keen to agree on a “round number” on which to end the bargaining process. It got me wondering why this is and I have come up with two possible theories. Maybe the desire has been passed down through history. When trading happened without the aid of computer systems and calculators, and maths skills were not as widespread, perhaps round numbers were easier to deal with (something I, with basic maths skills, certainly sympathise with). Or perhaps it is simply something more innate in human beings, that we like the simplicity they offer. The same phenomenon, as identified by comedian Peter Kay, which means we often wait to get out of bed until the alarm clock shows a round number. Do you have any theories on why we love to deal with round numbers?
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